Postseason baseball continues Thursday night as the two National League best-of-five division series kick off. Jeff Joyce and Mike Stanton of SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio previewed the keys to each matchup.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

Clayton Kershaw anchors the Dodgers pitching rotation, and will get the start in Game 1. Kershaw led the NL this year with a 1.83 ERA over 236 innings. LA’s offense, however, is dealing with injuries to superstars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Atlanta’s lineup, which has limited at-bats against Kershaw, will rely on two of the top three hitters in the NL this season: Freddie Freeman (.319 BA) and Chris Johnson (.321 BA).

Stanton’s thoughts on the series:

We know that this Atlanta Braves offense, if they can get hot, they can do some real damage. I don’t mind the matchup of Atlanta Braves pitchers to the Los Angeles Dodgers offense. This offense has not been good for a long period of time now. They’ve had a tough time scoring runs since September. They have superior pitching. […] If the Braves lineup is swinging the bat well, now you have a little bit better pitching for LA, a little bit better offense for the Braves. I think this is going to be a tight series.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals

The Pirates travel to St. Louis after an emotional win over the Cincinnati Reds in the NL wild-card game Tuesday night. The Cardinals’ NL-leading 97-65 record earned them home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They will rely on a roster of players with extensive postseason experience, including Game 1 starter Adam Wainwright, who has pitched to a career 2.48 postseason ERA in 13 games. Despite the Cardinals’ experience in tough October games, Joyce said this series may come down to the rowdy atmosphere in Pittsburgh’s home park:

I think the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation can certainly matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals rotation. [A.J.] Burnett has not been great on the road this year, but Gerrit Cole in Game 2 has been a very strong on the road. […] If the PIrates can get one of those first two games in St. Louis, we saw what the crowd was like at PNC Park the other night. That place is going to be rocking for Games 3 and 4. They’re going to have [Francisco] Liriano on the mound in Game 3 against the Cardinals. He’s been amazing at home, he’s been great against the St. Louis Cardinals.”

Hear Jeff Joyce and three-time World Series champion Mike Stanton weeknights on MLB Roundtrip, only on MLB Network Radio, Sirius channel 209 and XM channel 89.

MLB Network Radio will also have comprehensive postseason coverage through the last out of the World Series.

Powered by VIP